Hack Diary: Day 3721

Exhausted today. So exhausted, in fact, that I haven’t the energy to do anything other than dump a few words in this blog, which itself isn’t a bad thing. I’ve wanted to update it for a week, but I’ve barely had time. More about that later.

Stayed up late last night (again), watching the orange fool make an even bigger fool of himself, withdrawing American funding for the World Health Organisation in the middle of a pandemic. It’s all incipient nursery time piss-in-the-sandpit rage; pure knee jerk politics from the biggest jerk in politics. What he really wants to do is drop a nuke on Democratic headquarters and declare himself King of the World. Trump is feeling the pressure and no doubt wasn’t too happy seeing Obama getting involved in the election with his rather slick video endorsing Biden. That’s powerful branding and Trump understands branding. He’ll also know he will struggle to beat it. Just seeing the pictures of Obama with Biden should remind people of better times, when the strength of the American dollar wasn’t just economic but moral.

Speaking of the economy, we’re now told the UK is certain to have a recession and the world, perhaps, a depression. Cheerful stuff. Not sure how that will affect my life except certainly make it even worse. Not a good time to be thinking of replacing a desktop PC which has now been running, almost non-stop, for over a decade. I think that might be the secret of why it’s been stable. I learned many years ago that PCs hate fluctuations of temperature so the best way to avoid that is to ensure it stays hot. It means all those joints don’t experience the expansion and shrinkage that happens when they move between hot and cold, putting stress on the motherboard and leading to catastrophic failure. Perhaps it will run for another decade. I don’t know. I do know, when it “ceases to be”, I’ll struggle to do half the things I’m currently doing. I better finish this blog post quickly.

Recession naturally makes me feel lousy about my self-employed status. I sometimes worry that I don’t earn enough to warrant the title (did I mention this blog is an experiment in caffeine-fuelled creativity?) Yet, on the other side of it, there are days like yesterday when I did 14 hours solid work, from writing a 1500-word article in the morning, then recording and editing the podcast, which took me up to eleven at night. With the lockdown, I’ve also been putting more work into my drawing. Most days I’m probably working ten hours, if not more, along with the usual routines that come with being a carer (a term that does nothing for a man’s self-esteem). Means I rarely stop, though, truthfully, neither writing nor drawing feel much like work. It would be equally fair to say that I live a life of leisure for 10 hours a day, but I just happen to be furiously producing something during that time. It’s just unfortunate that nearly everything I do earns me nothing, otherwise I’d be rolling in cash. On bad days, like today, I really wonder why I bother. Waiting to hear from The Eye about cartoons I sent. I have about as much chance as sticking ribbons in my hair and winning the lead role in a revival of Annie.

As for having no time to update this blog: I have an old project I restarted last week and had high hopes for it until I put a few pages on my private Twitter account and had no feedback, which fills me with all the usual doubts. Just because I like it – and I have a pretty good sense of what works for me – doesn’t mean other people will. Perhaps people just weren’t around that day. I don’t know. Lack of confidence is a killer, which isn’t helped by the odd comment on Twitter. The latest was about Episode 61. Apparently, I interrupt too much. Perhaps I do. I live most of my life inside my head, having conversations with myself, like I’m doing here, in the form of the writing process. When I get to talk properly about the stuff that excites me, I probably get too excited. Not that I should feel the need to explain myself. Nor should I get grouchy about this stuff but it’s difficult. In a way, it’s a bit like living the Richard Madeley nightmare all over again. I know I’m not the reason people listen to the podcast in the same way that I knew people weren’t reading my old Madeley blog because they thought it was written by me. However, to hear somebody explicitly say as much does remind me of my status in this world of ours.

Not that status matters but, deep down, I think it does. The converse is to say nothing really matters, that fame, success, money, are all fleeting and meaningless in the grand scheme. We’re all dust in an infinitely vast universe. Except, of course, that’s bullshit. If anybody truly believed that, we’d be lining up like lemmings before our tenth birthdays. We work for recognition and reward. The pain of getting neither is the hardest thing for any creative to endure. I think that’s why I wanted to use the podcast to expose more people to The Burning Hell. I’m musically illiterate but ten years of working nose to the rhyming stuff for my PhD means I understand what does or not work as a lyric. It’s one of the world’s great injustices that the writing of Mathias Kom isn’t better known but, then again, I’m old enough to have no illusions about success. You don’t write blogs for 20 years and not see more charlatans, fools, and fraudsters rise to the top than you see talent win out.

I should really do something with my day, though I really don’t know what. Here’s a drawing that was going into that project I might now re-abandon. It has a “gag” that explains it but, if I published that, I’d reveal the premise of the project and I’d really hate to do that.

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Why Dunciad.com?

It’s a cool domain name and it was available. Yes, I know. Available. Crazy, isn’t it?

Really?

Yes. It also helps that it’s also my favourite satire written by Alexander Pope, one of the most metrically pure English poets who also knew his way around a crude insult or two. If you’ve not read it, you should give it a try.

So this is satire, right?

Can’t deny it. There will be some. But it’s also an experiment in writing and drawing, giving work away for free in order to see how many people are willing to support a writer doing his thing. It’s the weird stuff that I wouldn’t get published elsewhere in this word of diminishing demands and cookie-cutter tastes.